For a number of years, outdoor learning has been a key part of the Southroyd Promise, with children regularly telling us that they want to learn outdoors. We have integrated outdoor lessons into our curriculum and added Forest Schools to our wider school curriculum, working closely with Amanda Sowerby a specialist in the field.
Forest School is an ethos which supports children’s emotional and physical development through outdoor play, activities and exploration in a woodland environment.
Research suggests that through regular and repeated activities in a natural setting at Forest School, children will become more relaxed, experience increased confidence and self-esteem, overcome fears, have fun and connect with nature as they come to know it better.
Forest School starts in Nursery with children here learning to meditate and listen to the sounds of the outdoors.
Reception children design, make and enjoy their own obstacle course made out of natural materials in the woodland.
Forest Schools is all about practical skills, for example, learning to tie different knots in reception class.
At Southroyd forest school the children are given time and space to explore and discover for themselves, building a connection with nature whilst learning how to manage appropriate risk and challenge.
They learn to care for themselves, to care for others, and to care for the environment. We will support them to trust their own ideas, believe in their capabilities and recognise their own needs.
Obie shows the children how to make a fire, using materials from the forest. The children make hot chocolate.
The blindfold really focuses the children on listening to the sounds of the woodland - the sounds change throughout the year.
Children learnt to look around the woodland for natural materials that can solve problems - here the children made fishing rods.
The forest school leader and other adults supporting the session aim to act as role models for the children, fostering a supportive community of learners and encouraging independence, problem-solving and co-operation, as well as demonstrating skills like analysing and managing risk.
Children are introduced to the forest school ethos during their time in Nursery and Reception and then access weekly two-hour sessions once they are in Year 1.
The children design, make and locate their own tree spirits around the woodland area, fashioning their ideas out of clay.
The woodland is the perfect place to look for samples of minibeasts and plants and find out about science first hand.
Year 4 made a den during refugee week to think about the basic needs and challenges of making shelter.